Dear Kirsten, 

I feel silly even writing this as I know should probably just pull myself together.  I just feel really low, I don’t know how else to describe it,  just a low feeling that’s there all the time.

 I don’t want to get out of bed in the  morning, I don’t want to see anyone, I still work but it’s from home now and all my friends think I’m fine. I don’t want to bother the GP and other people have their own problems so I don’t want to bother them either but I don’t know how to go about getting over this low.

Name supplied

I’m really glad you wrote in, I think many people can relate to the feeling you  describe. Whilst we can feel low as a normal response to things, I get the impression in your email that this runs much deeper. 

I want to pick up on some of the phrases you have used, they are phrases that I think many of us probably recognise in some form.

When you say that you “should  just“ pull yourself together there’s actually quite a lot of meaning in that phrase. The word “just” might suggest that you feel you are blowing something out of proportion, a part of you might feel afraid of making a fuss or annoyed that you can’t force yourself to overcome the low mood. If you can, try to catch this part of you in action, become really aware of what it stops you from doing, what it tells you about how others see you - my guess is that it’s been helpful at some points in your life but is now stopping you from seeking some real support with how you are feeling.

Low mood can be brought on by our relationships, work, trauma, illness - the list is probably endless.  Once it’s here, low mood  creates a vicious cycle where we feel low and vulnerable and want to retreat from the world. 

Initially retreating can make us feel a little bit better, staying in bed means you aren’t having to put on your game face or go out into a world that you might be finding difficult.

 What withdrawing actually does is make us feel much worse in the long run, as humans we need things like social contact, structure, goals and without them our mood drops further and we can become stuck in a cycle of changing behaviours keeping the low mood going.

I think it’s really important you talk to someone about how you are feeling and that you challenge that part of you that thinks you are bothering people. Pick a trusted friend to confide in - research on relationships shows us that rather than being a burden when people talk about their true feelings, warts and all - it makes the other person feel more connected and useful. Your GP would also be a great person to talk to, they are used to people talking about low mood and can refer you for some talking therapy to help make sense of things and gain some symptom relief.

There are a number of things you can do to support yourself in the mean time:

Opposite Action

I know how strong the pull to retreat and stay at home is, I would like you to try, just for one week to do the opposite of what that part of you is telling you to do - so if it tells you to stay at home - I want you to try and go out for a walk.

York Press:


Structure is a really important quick win, set your alarm, get straight out of bed and move to a different room - avoid the pull of laying in bed alone with your thoughts, it wont help. Set small goals for your day - going to a shop, taking a walk, plan it out so that there is a structure you can follow.  Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and include some exercise if you can. 


Set yourself some small goals each week - things like making phone calls can start to feel difficult and before we realise it our to do list has become overwhelming. Break down your weekly goals into daily tasks - don’t be tempted to overwhelm yourself, slow and steady wins the race. 

York Press:

Have some self compassion

This is such a simple phrase that packs a powerful neurological punch, we can be tricked into thinking the fastest way to feeling better is to try to force positivity or to “just crack on”. Ironically changing your thinking and acknowledging how hard things feel, listening to your needs, developing a kinder self talk and asking for support can help shift you faster.


Kirsten Antoncich is a UKCP accredited Psychotherapist, neurofeedback practitioner and a fellow of the Royal Society. She works with children, young people and adults from her base in York. To ask her a question in complete confidence, please contact her via